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Green Chic : Saving the Earth in Style
"Matheson slyly steers us toward consumer goods and services that minimize our earth-stomping human footprint. She's brave enough to say 'buy less of everything,' and even the politically fraught 'buy nothing.' Matheson's genius is to make this seem not only doable, but fun."
Elizabeth Royte, author of Garbage Land and Bottlemania
Want to go green without giving up great style? Welcome to the world of Green Chic. Choosing to be green makes a real difference in the fight against global warming. But did you know that it's also hip, classic and stylish?
Offering up dozens of author-tested, earth-friendly ideas, writer Christie Matheson reveals that being chic and saving the planet aren't mutually exclusive.
Embrace the fabulousness of green living and you can:
* Look gorgeous
* Have a killer wardrobe
* Feel amazing
* Travel in style
* Create a home that's an oasis
* Host fun parties
* Eat incredible food and drink phenomenal wine
... All while feeling more connected to your friends, family and nature.
(And did we mention that green women don't get fat?)
Printed on recycled paper, with a portion of its proceeds going to a green cause, Green Chic is the perfect book for style-savvy readers with a green heart. Can living a chic green lifestyle TRULY make a difference to the planet? You bet your organic cotton sheets it can.
Buying into the Green Chic movement doesn't mean you need to buy more stuff.
Avoid products that purport to be green just for the marketing effect: "organic" processed foods; huge, gas-guzzling hybrid SUVs; clothes boasting that they're green just because they're made from "natural" cotton. Claiming to be green is trendy and companies out there are taking advantage. Don't believe all the hype.
10 GREEN CHIC--AND EASY--WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
* Ditch bottled water: refill a sassy thermos.
* Pop little purchases in your purse, not a shopping bag.
* Sip biodynamic wine.
* Choose cashmere, not acrylic.
* Let your hair air dry for a while before you blow dry: less frizz, less energy consumed.
* Unplug (and put away) unsightly cell phone chargers.
* Opt for quality over quantity in everything you buy.
* Cut down on clutter.
* Limit your consumption of anything packaged in plastic.
* Support local designers.
Don't go out and replace everything you own, from your makeup to your wardrobe to your furniture, with (theoretically) ecofriendly products. Being ecofriendly means consuming less, not more. Get in the habit of thinking before you buy. The best time to purchase ecofriendly goods is when you need them. That's when you're in a position to make a choice and express yourself as a green consumer.
Being Green isn't a fad ... it's timelessly chic.
Among a sea of new books on "living green," this breezy, fun-to-read guide for eco-conscious Sex-and-the-City types sets itself apart with a supportive, winning voice that's long on common sense and well-sourced info; even better, upscale lifestyle writer Matheson promises from the get-go that "you can definitely be green without giving up everything you love." As such, she offers valuable tips on finding high-style, high-quality replacements for eco-toxic products, services and indulgences of all kinds--domestics, food and drink, cosmetics, transportation, parties--that won't harm the earth or the body. Elsewhere, she provides familiar small steps--use fewer plastics, buy organic cotton clothes, walk more and drive less--but does encourage the big steps too ("Get rid of your car--if you can"). She also informs readers in clear language exactly why it's important to seek out, say, organic wine or a pedicure that eschews chemicals in favor of "scrubs and lotions that [you] would use at home." Though she dishes some cold, hard facts about the impact everyday choices makes, it's Matheson's level-headed, positive attitude and easy-to-implement tips that will inspire the young, hip and easily distracted to take up the cause.
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March 01, 2008
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Excerpt from Green Chic by Christie Matheson
Chapter 1: Green Glossary
Here are brief definitions for some frequently used environmental terms. I didn't really know what a lot of these meant when I started this project. Gaining an understanding of their meanings can help the concepts of green living make a little more sense. I explain many other terms in context throughout the book; in this section I've attempted to cover the basics to get you started. If you already know these, feel free to skip ahead. They'll be here for you if you need them.
Alternative energy: Environmentally friendly, sustainable energy not derived from burning fossil fuels--wind and solar energy are two examples.
Biodegradable: Made primarily of natural components and able to break down and be absorbed into an ecosystem.
Biodynamic: A rigorous form of organic farming that uses specific field and compost preparations according to an astrological calendar. Biodynamic farms are certified by the organization Demeter.
Carbon dioxide: (CO2) emissions A common way to quantify an individual's or household's impact on global warming. Burning fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas emits CO2, which is also a naturally occurring greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Because of human-related emissions, the level of CO2 has gone from about 280 parts per million (where it was before the industrial era began) to more than 350 parts per million--and increasing quickly--today. The average American is responsible for about 22 tons of CO2 emissions per year. Personal activity (as opposed to industrial activity) accounts for more than 30 percent of all CO2 emissions in the United States.
Carbon neutral: Describes an entity (or person) that has effectively neutralized the impact of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by its (or her) activities, so there is no net contribution to global warming.
Climate change: A widespread change in weather patterns or temperature.
Compost: To let organic waste break down and decompose into a mineral-rich material that can be used as mulch or to enrich soil for gardening.
Dioxins: Chemical by-products from the manufacturing of synthetic chemicals and the incineration of chemical-containing products. They are powerful carcinogens that also disrupt the endocrine system, damage the immune system, and cause kidney and liver problems and birth defects.
Energy Star: This Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program evaluates the energy efficiency of home appliances and electronics. Energy Star-rated products are generally significantly more efficient than their non-Energy Star counterparts.
Factory farm: A concentrated animal feeding operation (sometimes called a CAFO) with one thousand or more head of livestock.
Food miles: The number of miles food has traveled from where it was produced to your plate. Food in most U.S. grocery stores has traveled an average of about 1,500 miles.
Formaldehyde: A chemical used as a preservative in beauty products as well as in paper products and wood furniture. Formaldehyde is emitted from these products as a gas. It's a known carcinogen and an irritant to the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract.
Fossil fuels: Fuels such as petroleum, natural gas, and coal that come from decomposed fossilized plants and animals.
Global warming: An increase in the average temperature of the air near the earth's surface and the oceans. It's caused by excessive greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), being released into the atmosphere and acting as a blanket to hold the heat close to the earth.
Greenhouse gases: Gases that trap heat in the earth's atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most prevalent greenhouse gas; methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases are others.
Greenwashing: When corporations and products claim to be environmentally friendly--but those claims are suspect.
Kilowatt-hour (kWh): A unit of energy equal to 1,000 watt-hours. A watt-hour is the energy used for a 1-watt load to draw power for 1 hour. You can calculate kWh by multiplying the wattage of a device (such as a hair dryer or a lightbulb), multiplying it by the hours used per day, and dividing it by 1,000. Using 1 kWh results in the emission of about 1.5 pounds of CO2.
Organic: When referring to food or food ingredients, organic means something that has been grown without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides or fertilizers. To be labeled organic in the United States, a food needs to meet stringent USDA requirements. Beauty products labeled organic are not subject to the same guidelines. More generally, organic refers to matter that was recently living and is able to decay or decompose.
Parabens: A group of chemical preservatives used in many beauty products. They mimic the effect of estrogen and may be carcinogens.
Petroleum: Also known as crude oil, petroleum is a naturally occurring liquid fossil fuel. It is a major energy source and a raw material used to make plastics, fertilizers, and pesticides. It is a nonrenewable resource (in other words, there's a finite supply in the world).
Phthalates: Industrial chemicals that are frequently added to consumer products, generally to act as plasticizers (i.e., to make plastic flexible) or as solvents to make fragrances last longer. In the personal care realm, they are often found in nail polish, makeup, and hairspray. Phthalates are suspected carcinogens and hormone disruptors that can enter human bodies via inhalation, skin absorption, and ingestion.
Postconsumer waste: Material that has been used by the consumer and discarded (or recycled).
Recycling: Processing used materials into new raw materials.
Volatile organic compounds: (VOCs) VOCs are chemical compounds emitted as gases from some solids and liquids at room temperature (they don't need to be superheated or frozen or anything). Many conventional paints, lacquers, cleaning products, cosmetics, wood preservatives used on household furniture, and dry cleaning chemicals give off VOCs. So do gasoline, motor oil, and kerosene. VOCs can cause headaches; eye, throat, and skin irritation; nausea; and kidney and liver damage. They may also be carcinogenic and harmful to the central nervous system.